Southern Style Green Beans and Bacon (using a pressure cooker)

Pressure Cooker Green Beans

This is my adaptation of how Jim’s mom and grandmother make their green beans. If you have never had pressure cooked green beans you are truly missing out. It’s really hard to explain the difference in green beans that have been cooked in a pressure cooker, but this is how I will make them from now on. They taste different, the texture is different and they cook quickly. They are just really really good.

If you are new to using a pressure cooker (which I am), beans are probably a great food to start with. Beans cook relatively quickly, but they also don’t turn to mush quite as easily as some other veggies like zucchini or broccoli. However, you can really cook almost anything in a pressure cooker including a pot roast or a stew. I have a smaller pressure cooker, so I will stick mostly to side dishes for now. If I wanted to start canning or cooking a chicken or roast I would probably invest in a larger unit. For more information on using a pressure cooker I found a great site here. You definitely want to do some research on using a pressure cooker since you are dealing with very high heat and steam under pressure. I think many people are a bit scared about using a pressure cooker for the first time, (I sure was) but once you understand a bit of the science and mechanics it really isn’t a scary thing at all.

Pressure cooking can also be a very healthy way to cook. First of all, the food that you put in a pressure cooker is typically fresh and unprocessed. Because it is a very quick cooking method you also are able to get meals on the table quicker and for a busy family that can mean less meals out of the house. Also, food just tastes better to me in a pressure cooker and therefore I want to eat my veggies more. I don’t feel the need to add as much salt or butter or oil or sauces to my veggies cooked in the pressure cooker. The downside of pressure cooking is the same as any high heat cooking method in that you do cook some of the minerals and vitamins out. However, because it is more of a steaming method you don’t lose as much as you might in other methods that might use more liquid. All in all, my thing is that it makes veggies taste better without the need for as much seasoning and that is a win.

One other advantage of pressure cooking is that the quicker cooking time means less energy used.

We served these beans with some fried chicken, baked beans, deviled eggs, and blueberry muffins. This was such a great meal. Definitely what I would consider a weekend meal or a Sunday dinner type of meal. Not the healthiest, but all home cooked and a great way to start the week.

I hope you will try this method. I know you can buy pressure cookers that will work great for side dishes like this for as little as 20 dollars at stores like Target or on Amazon. I love mine I consider it an essential tool in my kitchen these days!

For some other wonderful green bean recipes check these out…

Green Beans and New Potatoes
Roasted Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
Haricots Verts Almondine

Enjoy!

Note: For a healthier version of these beans, omit the bacon and add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the cooking liquid. You can also completely omit the oil and they will still be fine. You can also substitute broth for water – just be careful with the salt.

Southern Style Green Beans and Bacon (using a pressure cooker)
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds fresh green beans, end removed, snapped in half and washed
  • 3-4 slices of bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ⅓ cup diced onion
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • ½ cup water

Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Towards the end of cooking the bacon add the onions and sauté for another minute or so. Add green beans and toss with the bacon so that the beans are lightly coated with some of the bacon grease. Add water. Cook beans for 5 minutes under pressure according to your pressure cooker directions. Season to taste.

Bran Muffins – a healthy breakfast option for carb lovers

Ok, so let me just put this out there. These bran muffins don’t compare to these. They don’t sound nearly as yummy as these muffins. And they do NOT taste like donuts like these muffins. However, if you want a muffin that tastes pretty darn good and is satisfying all while remaining healthy – bran muffins are a perfect option.

The original recipe from Kellogg’s is simple and a great little breakfast treat if you are like me and need your carbs every morning. I had one each morning last week along with either some yogurt of fruit. Not only do they taste great, but they keep you full a lot longer than muffins that don’t have very much or any fiber in them. They are quick to mix up, too – I would say these took me about 15 minutes tops to mix together.

I swapped out the AP flour for white whole wheat and the sugar for Splenda. I don’t always love Splenda and I know some people probably don’t like using it so by all means if you want to stick with the sugar go for it.  You can also cut back on the sugar altogether if you would like.  These muffins aren’t super sweet so the Splenda was a great substitute for the sugar (meaning I don’t notice any aftertaste.) When using Splenda just use half of the amount of sugar (1 cup sugar = 1/2 cup Splenda.)

I also saw this recipe for buttermilk bran muffins and this recipe with chocolate chips.  Other yummy options!

Enjoy!

Bran Muffins – A Healthy Breakfast Option for Carb Junkies Like Me!
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
  • ½ cup sugar (I used a ¼ cup splenda)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups bran cereal (I used bran flakes)
  • 1¼ cups fat-free milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (I added this)

Instructions
  1. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl combine the bran flakes and milk. Let sit for about 2 minutes until the cereal is nice and soft. Add the eggs, vanilla and oil and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the cereal mixture and mix just until combined.
  3. Portion into 12 muffin tins coated with cooking spray. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown on top.

 

 

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